Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

By on April 6, 2007 @ 7 PM (6 Comments)

Note: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was reviewed by both John and Dad on different days and originally posted as two separate reviews. We usually do our combined reviews together in one post, so this post has been edited to bring you both reviews on one post.

Father Beer Love Review (April 6, 2007):

North Coast Brewing Co. Fort Bragg, CA.

Beer temp. 52.6 F ABV 9%. Used a tall glass so I could watch for a fall.

Pours dark ruby brown but still clear. Nice brown head that holds well and laces sides pretty well. Pronounced molasses aroma with maybe a touch of anise. Taste yields complex flavors of dark chocolate and coffee (maybe espresso) and incredible smoothness. This is a sweet stout with a lingering black licorice flavor and a distinct smokiness. It is complex and deeply satisfying especially as it warms. The flavors cling to the roof of the mouth and the middle of the tongue. It isn’t quite as smooth as Young’s Oatmeal Stout but the complexity is all hell bent for leather. Started as an 8 and went to a 9 at the end, if it was in a bigger bottle who knows where it would have ended up.

The fact that this is made in the U.S.A. is great. I’ve had some damn good American pours but this is far and away the best. The folks at North Coast Brewing definitely got something right. A definite tip of the glass to you all. Keep it up. Only wish I could find it locally.

Son Beer Love Review (May 14, 2007):

Surprisingly, this beer is actually brewed in California. I looked up the North Coast Brewing Company and it doesn’t look like I’ve tried any of their other beers. If Old Rasputin is any indication of the quality of their work, I need to try some of their other brews, stat.

It’s a deep, rich pour with a lot of aroma jumping out – it may be the most aromatic beer I’ve tried. It smells of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts, along with a hint of alcohol (no wonder – it’s a 9% ABV). The color is near black, though it is actually a dark dark brownish red, and the thick, creamy tan head just taunts you to dive in, though it dissipates rather quickly. It smells unlike any other beer I’ve tried, though I’ve not tried a lot of stouts and don’t necessarily have the best benchmark there. Scratch that, I think I now have the benchmark.

The taste is complex and strong – huge on chocolate and coffee – a perfect beer tandem. It’s a sweet treat that’s not too sweet. I also pick up some black licorice and some roasted, smoky flavors. The mouthfeel is good and smooth.

The aftertaste hangs around your palate for a long while and tastes like rich coffee and earth. This one hangs around longer than any other beer that comes to mind. It’s a wonderful treat. This was the last of a 4 pack and I loved every one of them as if they were my own children. I had tried this beer in the past as well, as I was beginning my beer journey, and didn’t think quite as highly then, when I had a limited beer tasting experience. I actually thought the first time I drank it that it was too bold. The second one got through to me though and since then it’s been gaining momentum. It’s absolutely worth picking up and putting in the rotation.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Rating: 9 out of 10 (?)


6 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. Rib Eye says:

    Oh come on. This stuff is ridiculous. A drain pour if there ever was one. Seems like this is a trial by fire that beer snobs give themselves when they want to prove they are “real aficionados.” Whatever. Too heavy. Too bitter. Too smoky. Medicinal. I could go on…

  2. Dad says:

    Thanks for the comment Rib Eye. Back when I first started tasting beer (as opposed to drinking it ) I would have said the exact same thing. As I kept notes over the years I began to find that beers that I didn’t like to much became better. Did the beers change? No I did. See the review on Rogue Dead Guy Ale. Hope to have a blog up soon to talk about this. If you find the stouts kind of strong to you I would like to suggest Young’s Double Chocolate Luxury Stout. This is a nice intro. into Stouts.

  3. I haven’t tried this one, but from your two descriptions it sounds amazing. Just a quick note to Rib Eye, that beers with very strong flavours are not necessarily just for beer snobs trying to prove something. Many of us really enjoy some of these strong brews, like the Unibroue products (my favourite being La Fin du Monde, which you guys haven’t reviewed, sadly). It’s a matter of taste, like anything that you put in your mouth. Cheers and beers!

  4. Dad says:

    Thanks Brewmaster for your comment. It is really all about taste and palette development. I couldn’t believe we haven’t reviewed La Fin du Monde but to be sure we have tried it. Gives us a chance to get some more. I have never been disappointed by anything wearing the Unibroue brand.

  5. Marc Boland says:

    Did you have this in bottle or on tap. I have had it both on co2 and nitro. According to brewmaster is made for nitro and it is truly amazing served that way.

  6. John says:

    Marc – we had the Old Rasputin in bottles, that’s the only way I’ve had it. Would love to get it on tap if I can – I’ll keep my eyes out for it. Thanks for the advice!

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